Surrealaska

This week has been a whirlwind filled with learning, laughing, frustration with technology, and yawning. Lots and lots of yawning. (Oh and bagels today, thanks Carol you rock don’t ever change.)

Even after all of the preparation, the fact that we are going to Bethel for 15 days is still so surreal to me.

Throughout each of our eight hour days, I’ve learned how to shoot video, record audio, to interview, and how to combine those three skills. Well, I say that I’ve learned, but to be honest I still only barely grasp the basics…even after five days of camera tutorial by Tim.

Carol taught us about the ins and outs of interviewing. AND she gave us each our very own notebooks that look super journalist-y…like the ones journalists in movies use. Totally cool. (Once again you rock, don’t ever change…and I should definitely get an A on this post as compensation for all of this praise.)

We’ve also been able to learn about culture and religion and the relationship between the two through Dr. O’Keefe’s lectures. He made sure to educate us about the Yup’ic people. We are all now much more self-aware of the effects our obnoxious American presence could have, which was a concern of mine.

All of that learning has made me most excited to be in the type of place where the language has a single word, “ella,” that translates to English in three words: weather, the Earth, and the universe. It’ll be fascinating to be immersed in the Yup’ic culture, one that views nature as sacred. The spiritual value of nature is largely a lost concept in our society of technology, manufacturing, and concrete jungles.

The reflection this afternoon inspired me. Hearing from students that have participated in this program in the past, they all had generally the same message of the importance of staying fully present where you are, wherever that may be.

Those students also said that the most vital thing to remember is to be unafraid to step outside of your comfort zone…something I seem to be doing a lot of lately.

I can’t believe I’m going to ALASKA.

Okay that’s all for now. Time to finish packing!

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One thought on “Surrealaska

  1. I should leave a comment on each of your posts. I think Dad will as well! I hope that you know that in with all the warm clothes and the blankets and the supplies there are other things to be found in that suitcase. All of the love and backing of your family and friends is there. Your own common sense and judgment and intellect are other things you are packing and bringing with you. Your laugh and your sense of humor are inside each of the zippered and hidden pockets. They are found in all the fun nooks and crannies. Your faith in God and in His love for you is also packed and going with you on this trip. Each of these extras, fortunately and ironically, does not make that suitcase any heavier. Au contrair! They make the suitcase lighter to carry!…..I love the photo of your packed suitcase…..

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